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The final "Hobbit" brings the journey to an unexpectedly entertaining end

Published Dec. 23, 2014

With "The Battle of the Five Armies," at least the trilogy goes out on a high note, delivering an extended burst of some of what Jackson can do best. The final chapter is pure spectacle, and sure, much of it is hollow spectacle. But it's entertaining and enthusiastic, and it's the closest these echoes have felt to resembling the original volume of its Oscar-wining predecessor.

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"Wild" is a rich, wonderfully natural trek into the woods

Published Dec. 21, 2014

The bad news for "Wild": Director Jean-Marc Vallée, at least three films into his career this side of the Canadian border, specializes in making Oscar bait. No, wait; don't run away quite yet, because the flip side is that Vallée has mastered the art of making Oscar bait that doesn't feel like it. And now he's pulling off the same trick with "Wild."

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"The Interview" died; what comes next might be worse

Published Dec. 19, 2014

"The Interview" was canceled this past week amongst hack attacks and terrorist threats. It doesn't matter that this happened to THIS particular movie. What matters is what this means for ALL movies. And what this moment represents is a terrible precedent for the future of film and art altogether.

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Chris Rock gets close to top form in "Top Five"

Published Dec. 15, 2014

Fans have been routinely left waiting for a Chris Rock movie that truly plays up to the standard of Chris Rock. Luckily, the wait is over with the arrival of "Top Five," a loose-limbed comedy about celebrity that feels like a movie worthy of its star - in both its voice and its significant supply of laughs.

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The frostily funny "Force Majeure" sends a marriage down the moguls

Published Dec. 9, 2014

What doesn't kill you supposedly makes you stronger. In the case of the sneakily incisive new Swedish dark comedy "Force Majeure," however, what doesn't kill you reveals your deepest faults to all of your loved ones. And they are not impressed.

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